Video Killed the Radio Star: A Response to Martine Syms’ “Black Vernacular: Reading New Media”
Ouma Amadou

I really enjoyed your utilization of Vine as an example platform where young, black artists could showcase art and creative output. Your response to Syms reminded me of a interview I recently watched of a young black artist named Gabrielle Ledet. Ledet spoke of the ways in which comparatively to whites, black Americans often feel less safe in expressing themselves publicly. She related this to the historical context of black slavery and oppression in this country, and the ways in which whites appropriate black culture through discovering it on the internet. Ledet also spoke of her dreams to make a “black film” that deviates from the norm, one that represents further expressionism and artistic ability in the black community. This reminded me Aziz Ansari’s “Master of None,” in which he has trouble finding a place to express his art, acting, as an Indian-American man. When a friend of his, who is also Indian-American, competes for the same role in a sitcom about three friends, they discover that the producers only would want one Indian man on the show, so that it doesn’t become and “indian show” that turns off white people. Comparatively, it isn’t as if having two white people on a show would make it a “white show”…it would just be a show.

I digress, the internet’s essence has opened a lot of doors for minorities and other marginalized groups to express themselves, but agree with you that until the current system is changed, art made by marginalized groups of people won’t get the deserved recognition.

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